Thelma: Day #8 – Going to the Sun Road
• Number of miles driven: 410
• Amount of money spent: $183.01 ($119 motel, $33.81 gas, $7.50 breakfast, $7.50 lunch, $15.20 dinner)
• Best pic: Taken through my windshield while driving
• Song of the Day: Tom Petty’s Into the Great Wide Open
• Audio Book: Which Liberal Vision? Europe, U.S. and the International Order by Robert Kagan
• Number of times I almost drove off the road: 4 (there was a lot of wild dancin’ going on)
• Nighttime abode: Livingston, MT
• Special Purchase: $25 Glacier National Park entrance fee
The “Going to the Sun” Road is the destination I had in mind when starting out. I originally heard about it from a colleague while living in Chicago about 15 years ago and since then I’ve always had a romantic notion about it.
The beginning of the day was overcast, but as I continued east on the 3-hour drive through Glacier National Park, the sun gradually came out. At the end, Sun Point, it was a gloriously sunny day — Truth in advertising!
I thoroughly enjoyed my drive this morning. In fact, I adore the entire American West. I attribute my attraction to:
1) Reading way too much Little House on the Prairie growing up. I had the 8-book box collection and I’d read them one after another. My favorite was Little House in the Big Woods. (Interestingly, Laura Ingalls Wilder was supposedly an ardent libertarian.)
2) The spirit of the Wild West – where anything goes! I love the rugged, slightly outlaw nature of the whole place. After visiting even just a handful bars, there’s definitely a lingering Old West attitude out here.
3) A romantic ideal. Remember that game when you get to pick which time you’d travel back to? I’d always pick the 180ss. Evidenty, I want to churn butter, mend moccasins, cross the open plains in a covered wagon.
4) The physical beauty of the landscape. It dawned on me driving in western Montana after I had pulled over to snap one of a zillion pictures of the prairie, that what I love so much is the scale of this landscape. There was this huge wide sky, with massive mountains in the background and endless grasslands in front and teeny tiny house off to the side. It’s living mini in a frame. It’s the perfect perspective for me.
I have to say, this whole trip to America’s West has been one of my best adventures yet. It must be something about the solo travel and the open road, where you don’t see anyone for miles and miles. The world seems so big and pristine and your options just as limitless!
Do you have a favorite part of America? Write and tell us!
p.s. It hasn’t escaped me that my destination was actually a road that takes me somewhere else.
Read the next post in this series: Thelma: Day #9 – Yellowstone National Park
Read the first post in this series: Thelma without Louise: An American Adventure
This entry was posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010 and is filed under North America.